I'll fall for you soon enough
[Rosvolio, also on ao3]
Benvolio knew but very little about his soon-to-be wife. But one thing he did know was this: she was a proud woman, and asking did not come easily to her.
So when Rosaline Capulet asked something of him, he listened.
Rosaline had stayed sullenly quiet on most matters concerning their impending marriage, mostly speaking up on aspects that concerned her sister in some way. Whenever they met with a variety of representatives of both their houses to plan this practical aspect of the ceremony or that, she seemed wholly disinterested in the topic, and only reluctantly involved herself if pressed to do so.
But when her uncle brought her to the Montagues’ family seat for one such afternoon of planning, her usual withdrawn behaviour seemed tinted with uncharacteristic trepidation, and when Benvolio offered his arm to lead her up the stairs, her grip was far too tight to be considered proper on a woman who had been raised a lady.
At first, he only took note of her distraction to escape the boredom of listening to their uncles try to outdo each other with tales of their business acumen. But the longer Benvolio watched his betrothed, the more intrigued he became.
All morning, Benvolio kept finding proof that something was wrong with Rosaline. She seemed tense, skittish, barely managed to stay in her seat as her eyes frantically dashed around the room, jumping from one lower member of his house to the next. She tried to hide it, of course, not one to easily bare her vulnerabilities, but when the gates opened downstairs to let in a whole group of Montague men, freshly returned from a ride out with their horses, she actually flinched at the sound of their boisterous laughter, and her already strenuous grip on her cup of sweetened wine tightened even more.
It was only once the heads of their two houses had declared it time for a break that he found out what was behind her sullen mood.
After a light luncheon, Lord Montague invited them all to come see the new statue gallery recently installed in the inner courtyard, one of the largest and finest collections of contemporary art in the city. His uncle’s claim, though no doubt stated mostly for Lord Capulet’s benefit, was true, Benvolio knew: The gallery boasted statues by the most talented and original artists of the day, and Benvolio, the only one in the family with an eye for the arts, had made sure they were arranged in such a way as to best display their individual beauty.
It was this part of the house they were headed to now, and with Lord Montague busy watching Lord Capulet for signs of displeasure at being thus upstaged, and Lord Capulet determined not to show any such sign, it was easy enough to pull his bride away from the central aisle and towards a small stone bench set between two statues.
“You are unusually quiet this morning, Capulet.“
They had gradually come to be on friendlier terms, but not so much as to make him actually call her by her given name - though the privilege would by rights be his, since they had been engaged for some weeks now. He had, he thought, made a valiant effort to hate her, as the bloody tradition of their families and his own bruised pride demanded. For a brief moment after Romeo’s death, he had even attempted to blame her for it somehow - but then, he was just as much to blame for the tragedy that had ripped away their houses’ heirs.
But Benvolio had never been a man to whom hatred and resentment came easily, and smart, headstrong Rosaline was a difficult woman to hate. He may bristle at the way she turned up her nose at him, may feel the urge to take her down a peg or two with a well-aimed barb from time to time. But now, two months into their engagement, he only antagonized her for sport, and his jabs were merely meant to sting, not wound.
Now, Rosaline showed once more that candidness he had admired, even envied in her before: She neither tried to evade his question nor to deny his observation, but came straight out with her answer.
“I have a favour to ask of you.“